All posts by Matt Carter

Manchester City considering move for Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers

With Manchester City unable to keep up with neighbours Manchester United this season and their feeble summer transfers being blamed for that, Roberto Mancini’s future at the club is uncertain. The Mirror are throwing a slipper at the pigeons with reports that the City chiefs are ready to offer Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers the reins in the summer.

We have all had our ears filled about Rodgers’ preference to blood the youngsters and how he demands his players to make 3,000 passes before they take a pop at goal, and City want a slice of that.

Rodgers has got Liverpool playing some sensual stuff, but is still in the middle of a transition. It doesn’t help the Irishman that his star man, and the player who has carried the team on his back for the majority of this season, is about as likable as a stubbed toe.

Should Rodgers make the switch to the Etihad he would have improved funds, a squad packed full of superstars, and he wouldn’t ever have to associate with Stuart Downing again.

If the move doesn’t transpire, then Chelsea fans will be chuckling as City’s second choice is apparently their current interim boss Rafa Benitez.

Maybe the City fans won’t be so childish about the appointment, though.


Was Poyet wise to reject Reading?

Brighton boss Gus Poyet made the wise move last week to turn down an instant opportunity to be a Premier League manager at Reading FC.

He would have been granted access to an abundance of transfer funds in the summer and a side most likely smarting from relegation and keen for success.

When Brighton allowed him permission to speak to the Berkshire club, several assumed that he would leave the Amex Stadium.

Poyet though by sticking with the Seagulls has committed to the long term project that could easily result in promotion this season.

Whilst several managers would have snapped at the chance of having a hit and hope at survival the Chelsea cult hero saw this was a red herring.

The Uruguayan has gradually integrated the star quality feel to the set on the South Coast and it slowly but surely paying dividends.

He is also been given the chance to develop his own brand of football which has been lauded in recent times.

Reading will demand results in the Championship next season and if the owner has pulled the trigger on McDermott after his great work to re-build the club, maybe the Madejski stadium’s hot seat is a poisoned chalice after all.

Where is the best option for Hangeland in the summer?

Fulham central defender Brede Hangeland is running out of contract and is set to be a free agent, not that this scenario will ever happen of course.

The Norwegian International has long been touted to make a step up to possibly even as high as Champions League football with his aerial presence and dominant tackling.

It appears that Arsenal would be the most prominent option within England as Wenger is known to have any eye for a bargain.

If he were to stay put he would be admitting that he is going to see out the rest of his career with the Cottagers and may be careful what he wishes for.

Is this such a bad thing though after all with a manager who clearly has faith in his abilities and wanting to tie him up to a new deal as soon as possible.

Jol said to the Daily Mirror: “We are talking to a few players and Brede is one of them. We are talking, which is a positive thing, and he wants to stay here. Hopefully there will be news in the next couple of weeks.”

He has though been stalling over a deal all season and whilst the grass may seem greener elsewhere, he should give careful though to leaving Craven Cottage this July.

Can Kevin Strootman light up the Premier League? (Video)

The PSV midfielder is a target for both Arsenal and Manchester United. He has made a definitive impression in the Eredivisie and £17 million fees have been mooted for the 23 year old.

He revealed that he is open to offers too and could be the player to provide the steel that is needed in the centre of the park at the top of the Premier League.

The Dutch international has been tracked by the giants in Europe for a long time and now seems to be at the perfect age to fly the nest at the Phillips Stadium.

He is a deep lying playmaker which appears to be a trouble position to fill for those in the upper echelons of World football. Strootman though has established his poise to handle this long ago.

The Eredivisie has provided great value in recent times despite the financial troubles in Spain and the French market taking the eyes of the vultures in England in the last transfer window.

He has netted 6 times this season too, so is not just a playmaker looking to thread the passes for other players to add the finishing touches.

Having featured from under 17 right through to the full national team for the Netherlands, and having 141 career appearances, he is ready to make the step up.

If you are not convinced check out the video below:

Is it time for Torres to move on?

Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone has officially opened the door back for former club captain and cult hero Fernando Torres to return to his side in La Liga in the summer.

Is now the time for Chelsea’s Torres to accept that his glory years in the Premier League have past and he needs to re-establish himself in Spain.

It is a damning indictment that Demba Ba signed as a stop gap measure to secure Champions League football. He is seen as the largest striking fish in the Stamford Bridge pond at this moment in time.

The Spaniard once was a £50 million signing for the Blues but a new marquee signing for a large fee once more is set to take the mantle the Spanish international has never fully grasped.

Chelsea are looking to build a new future and Torres will not feature as part of it, because work rate and intelligence off the ball is not enough, he has never had goals to his game in West London.

Atletico Madrid are his hometown club though who give him the opportunity to try and salvage his career and with Falcao being a target at the Bridge then it could be a switch that suits both parties.

Will the Venky’s ever learn?

Michael Appleton is latest manager to fall under the axe at Blackburn Rovers after a mere 67 days and you wonder how long the next boss to arrive will last.

The Venky’s once ventured a claim that Rovers could get Champions League in four years, and now non-league in four years is more realistic.

Whilst they insisted on keeping with Steve Kean for far longer than was ever necessary they now are trying to fire down any new candidate in the hot seat before they can even get their feet under the desk.

The poisoned chalice at Ewood Park is surely now going to alienate any reputable manager in their right mind and it’s the fans who will suffer.

There are great facilities and the capability within the playing staff for the side to lift themselves but it takes time to develop this.

If they continue to make hasty decisions at Blackburn then the fans will have no hesitation in voting with their feet as they did under Kean.

They are fortunate that they are not in the promotion or relegation mix up but the next appointment will be crucial.

If the Venky’s want the Premier League to come back to Ewood Park they are going to have to set out the project under their manager this time round.

Can Valencia recover at Man United?

Antonio Valencia last season was arguably the stand out player at Old Trafford, with his pace and tenacity really coming to the fore.

The £16 million signing from Wigan though has always struggled with injuries in his time with Manchester United.

The 27-year-old did receive player of the year award last term but now faces a struggle on his hands to get his place back with Zaha due to arrive in the summer.

He may stay have the desire to get his game back to what it was but injuries can cripple a footballer and he needs to be determined if he is set to force his way back in.

Next campaign will be crucial to prove he still has got what it takes to deliver whilst he is in the peak years of his career.

He is a one footed footballer which can hinder his game at times but if he finds his running and invention then he could be a weapon for Manchester United next season.

Valencia will need to ensure that he can offer more than simply working hard to the starting XI or he will find his chances limited.

The Ecuadorian was once billed with trying to fill Ronaldo’s shoes but now he needs to prove he is worth any shoes at Old Trafford once more.

Should Owen be remembered as a great?

Michael Owen made his gushing admission that he was to retire and the thought of it had reduced him to tears, but will he be remembered as a great?

Unfortunately for his sake no. He will be remembered as a football mercenary who whittled his career away as soon as he decided to leave Liverpool.

The 1998 strike against Argentina is one which people will nostalgically look back upon but it is not enough to nullify and mitigate the way his career turned out.

Whilst he was unfortunate with injuries his desire to play football at the intensity that he was once capable of vanished in his time at St James’s Park.

Whilst people will like to remember the old Michael Owen of 10 years ago, essentially most people considered him retired long before this season.

He may have an impressive international record for England but prioritising this over club football means that you can’t hail his consistency to deliver.

Owen was one to lavish his abilities in the six yard box but once his game lost its one crucial factor, pace, his game became redundant.

His swan-songs at Man United and now Stoke have been prolonged goodbyes. On the football pitch he is not a presence that will be missed anytime soon either.